Appeal from the Order of the Civil Service Commission in case of Edward S. Yaegle v. Warren State Hospital, Department of Public Welfare, Appeal No. 2681.
James S. Marshall, Assistant Counsel, for petitioner.
Timothy D. McNair, with him Bradley H. Foulk and Marilyn Woolery, for respondent.
Judges Rogers, MacPhail and Barry, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Barry.
[ 80 Pa. Commw. Page 487]
Petitioner, Warren State Hospital (Hospital), seeks review of an Order of the State Civil Service Commission (Commission) which determined that Edward Yaegle, Elevator Mechanic, regular status, respondent herein, at Warren State Hospital, had been properly suspended but improperly dismissed from his job as a result of a number of work-related incidents.
Respondent's suspension and subsequent dismissal stem from several alleged incidents which involved him and five employees. The Hospital initially notified respondent on or about September 24, 1981, of complaints by some female staff members. At that time the Hospital suspended respondent. Thereafter, it removed him from his position effective October 23, 1981. Respondent had not been notified of the complaints when suspended and terminated and had no opportunity to confront his accusers. According
[ 80 Pa. Commw. Page 488]
to the Hospital, respondent's suspension and dismissal occurred because of serious allegations regarding inappropriate conduct in the form of verbal and physical sexual advances directed toward female employees.
On appeal to the Civil Service Commission, the Commission found that the Hospital appropriately suspended respondent for good cause but lacked just cause to justify his removal. As appointing authority, the Hospital had the burden of showing that the evidence supported a finding of good and just cause. The Hospital, according to the Commission, met its burden on respondent's suspension but failed to do so on his termination. This appeal by the Hospital followed.
Significant to the disposition of this case is the testimony of several female employees before the Commission. Gladys Meleen, a Clerk Typist II, testified that on September 22, 1981, the respondent came in back of her, grabbed her just above the waist, and forced her toward a room. She screamed for respondent to stop but he continued and laughed as he did. Later the same day, respondent encountered her without warning in a hallway, grabbed her around the waist, breathed in her ear, and said, "We could have some fun." (T. 15, 3/25/82). She testified that she was afraid as a result of these incidents. (T. 15-17, 3/25/82).
The respondent replied that he was "kidding" with Ms. Meleen and that her giggle "was more like a screaming giggle than a real desparate . . . cry for help scream." (T. 65, 3/25/82). Respondent further testified that another employee present, Mr. Meley, merely sat at his desk during the entire incident. Finally, ...